Monday, September 30, 2013

Game 163: 2012 Topps Archives #159 David Price

Game 163: It is not by technically a playoff game however it is pretty much the definition of a Playoff Game. After all, tonight's contest between the Rangers and Rays is a win or go home game.     

2012 Topps Archives #159 David Price

The Tampa Bay Rays are sending out David Price to start game 163 while the Rangers will have Martin Perez on the mound.  Both clubs are familiar with the postseason and I hope we get to see a good game to kickoff the (pre)postseason.

2012 Topps Archives
The David Price 2012 T Archives card above echoes 1984 Topps, a set which is similar to 1983 Topps but not quite as sharp for me.

Within the 2012 Topps Archives the 1984 retros are the fourth Set represented, running from card #151-#200.     

Cardboard Connection

Sunday, September 29, 2013

TRENDY: Amazing Race - Mr Kim DeJesus, David DeJesus (2008 Topps Heritage #91)

Tonight the newest edition of the Amazing Race debuted.  The show is part of the Team Phungo TV diet and will likely be part of our Sunday Night routine for the next few weeks.

One of the teams featured in this seasons race is Nicky Gets and Kim DeJesus who are baseball wives of players Chris Getz and David DeJesus respectively.

2008 Topps Heritage #91 David DeJesus

David DeJesus has been on the move a lot lately, He was traded from the Cubs to the Nationals and then to the Rays all in a period of a week.  This turned out to be a very good week for DeJesus, He went from a struggling team to a potential postseason squad, then to a team that is a win away from being a playoff team.

Steve Smith
Three years ago former Phillies 3rd Base coach Steve Smith was featured on the Amazing Race with his daughter, Allie. The Greatest 21 Days covered Smith's race in this column.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

TRENDY: 2011 Topps USA Baseball #21 Michael Wacha (pre-RC)

2011 Topps USA Baseball #21 Michael Wacha

In only his 9th career start Michael Wacha came an out away from a no-hitter. One has to wonder if he will ever get the opportunity again. The Cardinals have a mess of good young players on their roster. Among those players are three pitchers Wacha, Lane Lynn and Joe Kelly.

2011 Topps USA Baseball
Topps USA is a small 61 card set with a couple of players that have already emerged. The most notable (other than Wacha after Yesterday) is Mark Appel along with the Orioles Kevin Gausman. There is a retail version of the set (one autograph card per box) which I see for $15 and under occasionally. In 2010 Topps produced a similar set that included Gerrit Cole and others.

Other Voices
Cardboard Connection Michael Wacha RC/Procpect Price Guide (2013 10 07)

cardboard connection

Monday, September 23, 2013

Steve Carlton 300 Career Victories: 1984 Topps #706

30 Years ago today Steve Carlton won his 300th game. I am curious if any other 300th win came at a bigger moment.  The Phils entered play on the 23rd of September 3 games up with 9 to play. They had won eight consecutive games  - a streak that would eventually run to 11.

1984 Topps #706 NL Active Career Victory Leaders Carlton, Jenkins, Seaver

Carlton had 29 more victories left in him.  Fergie Jenkins was done pitching following the 1983 season and the above card reflects his career win total of 284.  Seaver eventually passed Jenkins and finished with 311 Wins.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago the 1984 Topps active leaders subset is a fun one for Phillies fans to collect and this Wins Leader card is another great example.

1983 NL Champions Series   
Darren Daulton
Bo Diaz    
John Denny
Ivan DeJesus
Garry Maddox  

Joe Morgan 
Tony Perez
Pete Rose

Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson (Strikeouts) Steve Carlton 300 Wins
Baseball Card Database 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 2013 Topps #507 Lance Lynn

Once again the St Louis Cardinals are in the playoff hunt. They Cards minor league system continues to generate players that can contribute to the big club.

2013 Topps #507 Lance Lynn

Lance Lynn is one of these young players.  At least he was one of them.  Lynn started off the season 10-1 with a 3.42 ERA,  Since June 26th he has struggled compling a 6-11 record with a 4.690 ERA.

In past playoff runs the Cardinals have frequently used Lynn as a reliever. With his 2nd half struggles that may also be his postseason role for the 2013 Cardinals  

2013 Topps
I don't get the complaints regarding Topps photography in recent sets. The landscape version of the design fits the Pitchers from behind the plate well - the righty batter in the larger open area of the frame helps balance the shot. 

The hitter here also appears to be Andrew McCutchen, a star player who the Cardinals face frequently. This gives a little extra star power pop to the card.     



Monday, September 16, 2013

Bucket or Chuck-It: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Bargain Blaster

2012 AnG Blasters running for $13 at the local target.  Bucket Or Chuck-It?

No Base cards but a Ryan Howard Insert and a Cliff Lee Mini
Speaking of Minis

Justin Upton
Freddie Freeman A&G Back
Erin Andrews Black Frame!
Nick Hagadone A&G backs
Jorge De La Rosa
Adam & Eve Bible insert
Adrian Gonzalez
Solid group of inserts - SportsCasting Beauty Erin Andrews draws center square in this lot. 

Heath Bell Relic w/ the Pix representing the Padres, the Relic may or may not be from the Padres or any other actual game or event or something like that.

Standard Size Inserts  

Not Sure the Smoltz pix looks a lot like him. The Willis Tower is the Sears Tower in Chicago, Dempster is card #342 SP.  .
Whats in a Name

That is Tony Gwynn the Hall of Famer in the Middle. Donnie Baseball on top and Jacoby Ellsbury last. 
The Box yielded one other Hall of Famer in base card form

Stan Musial

Bucket or Chuck-it
No Base Phils is a bust but gettting two inserts makes the Phils up for that, Erin Andrews makes the minis a win, meh on the other inserts. I imagine the hit rate for relics is about even for an AnG blaster. Overall, we give it a bucket.  I got $13 of enjoyment out of opening that box.  

ReWind - Past Ginter Blaster Breaks
2011 Allen & Ginter (Bargain Blaster - Carlos Ruiz Mini, Jim Nantz Relic, James Shields #NNO mini)
2010 Allen & Ginter (Chase Utley This Day in History)
2010 Allen & Ginter (Bargain Blaster - Buster Posey RC)
2008 Allen & Ginter (Michael Young Relic)

2009 Allen & Ginter Phillies Group Break (Cole Hamels black border Mini, Jamie Moyer Mini 
Note the 2012 Bargain Blasters are buck more than the 2011 and 2010 A&G Blasters were a few months ago. 


Sunday, September 15, 2013

2008 Topps #232 Clay Buchholz (RC)

2008 Topps #232 Clay Buchholz (RC)

This is just one of several 2008 Clay Buchholz cards that reference the No-Hitter he threw in his second major league start.  

One of the things a Photo can do is to tell a story.  This image of Buchholz throwing the No-Hitter early in his career rewards the fan for their baseball knowledge. The moment you pick up the card you know the event it captures.

Tonight Buchholz takes the mound in another Sunday Night Baseball contest featuring the Yankees and Red Sox. There was a bit of a stir when the rivals met last month. This weekend they are back at Fenway and I am sure the fans will be watching for more drama.  

For the Collector
There are a couple of 2008 Cards that celebrate the Clay Buchholz no-hitter.  
2008 Topps Opening Day #211
2008 Topps Trading Card History #TCH5 (1956 Topps Retro)
2008 UD #384  


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September Calls: 2011 Bowman Draft Propects #BDPP2 Cody Asche

One of the byproducts of the Phillies miserable season is an incredible array of new faces. Hopefully some of these folks will stick around and be part of the Phillies future.  Cody Asche may be one of the candidates for Phils 2014.  

2011 Bowman Draft Propects #BDPP2 Cody Asche

Cody Asche has gotten himself into 30+ games in his first campaign as a major leaguer. The third baseman has looked good in the field and provided some pop at the plate. Asche hit his 5th homer of the season earlier tonight - He had 15 at AAA Lehigh Valley prior to getting called up.

The Phillies have struggled to find a solution for the hot corner.  During the recent stretch of  winning seasons they have settled on mediocre players at a position that is traditionally considered a premium offensive spot.  Both Pedro Feliz and Placido Polanco were adequate, but it would be nice to get some production from a homegrown talent.  

2011 Bowman
We recently featured a 2011 Bowman Chrome of Cesar Hernandez.  For more info on that set click here. The 2011 Bowman Design looks pretty decent on both base and Chrome. I like the way the keep the photo in black/white beyond the border of the color photo.  It helps the player photo pop a bit.

Other Voices
The Phillies Room featured the Bowman Card whenever Asche was first called up a month ago.

The Phillies Room

Monday, September 9, 2013

2010 Topps #552 Chris Tillman

This week the Baltimore Orioles host the New York Yankees for a four game set that could propel one of the two teams into a Wild Card spot. 

Entering the series the Orioles are 2 games behind the Rays for the 2 WC, while the Yankees are an additional 1/2 game behind. The O's are sending out their Ace for game 1 of the series.  

2010 Topps #552 Chris Tillman

Yes I said ACE. Chris Tillman is only 25 but I have him as the #1 pitcher on the O's staff. He leads the team in Wins, ERA, Ks, and Innings. For the Orioles to make the playoffs, they are going to need Tillman to continue to perform at an Ace level.

The O's are on ESPN Monday Night Baseball tonight and with the Phillies out of it, I will be keeping an eye on my AL squad this week.
2010 Topps

Two notes on 2010 Topps. I generally like the design of the set.   The wave along the cards lefthand side gives a nice splash of colors, however the Orioles got screwed here - the black wave is way to dark for my taste.

The other observation I wanted to note is the common complaint regarding the poor scanning of foiled fonts. I have moved over to using a smart phone to upload pix of cards.  This is for a variety of reasons, but this time through I realized that I can beat the foil by tilting the camera(phone) at angles until I get the photo I want. The image is a little dark, but I think that is low afternoon light in the Team Phungo card room, more than the camera angle.

2010 Topps is only three years old but the #54 Tillman is shown wearing on the card is 2 numbers ago for the righty.  Tillman wore 54 has a rookie in 2009, he yielded that number for #24 which he retained until 2012 when Wilson Betemit joined the Orioles. Tillman then switched to the #30 which he currently wears.   


Sunday, September 8, 2013

2009 Bowman #BDPP2 Billy Hamilton (RC)

Tonight's on Sunday Night Baseball the Cincinnati Reds will attempt to sweep the Dodgers in what could be a NL playoff preview.

2009 Bowman #BDPP2 Billy Hamilton (Bowman 1st Card)

For at least the last two seasons Billy Hamilton has been a BuzzProspect due to his ridiculous base stealing numbers. He has a total of 395 SBs over 5 minor league seasons, including 155 in 2012 and a combined 230 the last two seasons.

Hamilton has only been in four games for the big club, but has already made an impact. On Tuesday night he pinch ran for Ryan Ludwick - Hamilton Stole 2nd and scored on a Todd Frazier Double.  It was the only run of a 1-0 Reds victory. Nice debut for the prospect. The following night the Reds were down a run in the 14th inning when Hamilton did virtually the same thing. PR for Ludwick, SB, score on a Zach Cozart single.  Unfortunately for the Reds the Cardinals had a young star of their own, Matt Adams who performed some heroics of his own that night, as Cincinnati lost the marathon contest 5-4.

Last night Hamilton had a similar impact for versus the Dodgers, once again PR for Ludwick, SB, score on Frazier single.  It should be noted that on Friday night Hamilton collected a stolen base, but was also doubled off 3B on a liner back to pitcher Brian Wilson.     

For the Collector

I am pretty sure this is the first card issued of Billly Hamilton, although it doesn't fall under the new "official MLB" RC designation - since Hamilton had not played in the majors prior to the products release.

Regardless I was very happy to find this card in a nickle box a few months ago.  It really doesn't sell for much on the auction market, but $2.50 is a lot more than a nickle.  The high end for Billy Hamilton right now is the Gold #d/50 version of this card which went for a tidy $102.

baseball Cardpedia

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Infield that Never Was - 2013 Phillies

Michael Young, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard 

If the season had been different this would have been the infield for a playoff caliber team.  Instead Chase Utley and Ryan Howard once again had stints on the DL.  The veteran quartet ended up playing 38 games together, which is actually a lot more then I would have guessed.

espn bottom line

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Calls: 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP122 Cesar Hernandez

This isn't Cesar Hernandez's first call to the majors. That happened earlier this season when Team Phungo Was out of town. 

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP122 Cesar Hernandez

The 23 year old Hernandez is yet to make an impression at the major league level.  He did bat .309 at AAA.  Similar to Ben Revere he racked up a bunch of steals without much pop. The Bowman card above specifies that Cesar is a second baseman, but also like Revere he has been playing Centerfield this year.  The Phils have signed Chase Utley on for the next few seasons, so if Hernandez has a future with the Phillies it may be in the outfield. 

2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects

BCP 2011 is a 110 card subset #111-#220 which is a continuation of the set initiated in regular Bowman. The few players from the Chrome subset that have made it to the majors include Bryce Harper, Matt Moore, Jean Segura, Andy Dirks, Steve Cisheck, Tyler Moore, Taylor Pastornicky, Brett Lawrie, Rob Brantley, and a couple of Phillies pitchers Ethan Martin, Jonathan Pettibone and JC Ramirez.  Recent new Dad Cutter Dykstra is also in 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects.

Other Voices
14,000 Phillies featured this card when Hernandez was initially called up in May

14,000 Phillies
Baseball cardpedia

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2011 Topps Opening Day #16 Max Scherzer

Tonight the Detroit Tigers Max Scherzer is attempting to become the first member of the 20 win club in 2013.

2011 Topps Opening Day #16 Max Scherzer

The Tigers Max Scherzer has put together an amazing season. Going into tonight he is 19-1. Sometimes Win Loss records are seen as empty numbers. Certainly each season there seems like there is one Phillies pitcher that gets no run support (Hamels in 2013), and one who gets a lot of runs (Kendrick every season). In Scherzer's case This isn't true. He may not of racked up 20 wins with less offense, but he was still destined to get a bunch.

The current WAR leader among AL pitchers is Chris Sale. I am not sure why this is. Scherzer and Sale have comparable innnigs, ERA, ERA+, Strikeout and WHIP numbers.In fact Scherzer wins All of those categories. I checked around on Twitter and Dan M @_LeftField  (blog = Left Field) specified higher competition, ballpark factors, and the Whilte Sox mediocre defense as reasons that Sale's WAR rating is better than Scherzer.

This amounts to a WAR calculation for Sale of 6.2 while Scherzer stands at 5.8.

Regardless Scherzer is pitching for a team likely destined for postseason play, while the White Sox certainly are not.  There is still a month left to play and right now I would have Scherzer as unanimous Cy Young in the AL.

Another interesting aspect of Max Scherszer's season is his emergence as staff ace on a team that also has Justin Verlander. Verlander has been decent, but not nearly as dominant as his previous seasons.  He has struggled a bit his last few starts and overall his season has been average since Mid May.  Through his first 8 starts of the Season Verlander had an ERA of 1.93.  Since then his ERA has been in the middle 4s.  He has maintained a .500 record across both sets of starts and is still among the league leaders in Innings and Strikeouts.  However, both of those numbers are in the middle of the top 10 among his peers. He led the the league in both Ks and IPs in 3 of the last 4 years.

Justin Verlander is still a good pitcher on a good team and it will be interesting to see if he can return to form as October approaches.  If Max Scherzer can be the staff Ace in the playoffs it makes for some nice options for Jim Leyland at the top of the Tigers rotation.


High Heat Stats

Monday, September 2, 2013

1983 NL Champions: Joe Morgan 1984 Topps #705 NL Active Stolen Base Leaders

One of the most notable Wheeze Kids was Hall of Famer Joe Morgan

1984 Topps #705 NL Active Stolen Base Leaders Morgan Cedeno Bowa

Regardless of what folks may think of Morgan as a broadcaster he was a helluva ballplayer.  Most people remember him from his days with the Big Red Machine, but he was also played second base for the Phils during their 1983 NL Pennant winning season.  

Morgan was down to his penultimate season by the time he got to the Phillies and his age was showing.  He only batted .230, but he did have a good World Series. He hit a game tying Home Run in the only game of the series which Phillies won. In the last post season AB of his career Morgan Tripled off of Scott McGregor. It was the last hit of the Phillies season. 

The Big Red Machine
The Reds are The Great Eight of the Big Red Machine. The centerpiece of the event will be Joe Morgan weekend which will feature the unveiling of a statue of the Hall of Famer. For more information on Joe Morgan Weekend click here.   

1984 Topps Active Leaders
The Active Leaders Subset from 1984 is a great one for Phillies fans. The set celebrates Career Leaders in 9 different categories and since the Phils were the Wheeze kids in 1983, they are well represented. Morgan, Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Larry Bowa, and Tony Perez all make appearances. The set consists of 18 cards (9 per league) and runs from #701-#718

Other Voices
Andy from High Heat Stats did an in depth analysis of the SB leaders on the old Baseball-ref blog

1983 NL Champions Series  
Darren Daulton
Bo Diaz  
John Denny
Garry Maddox  
Tony Perez
Pete Rose
Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson

Sources & Links
Larry Bowa Index
Baseball Card Database
Cincinnati Reds

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Phillies Cards that Never Were - Michael Young

The Phillies have officially bid farewell to Michael Young after a 126 game stint.

There have been only a few Michael Young cards with him representing the Phillies, and I don't think I have picked up any of them yet.  As a Phillies player I think Young can be found in 2013 Topps Heritage and A&G.

However there are Cards that Never Were
2011 Faux Topps Michael Young

This seasons Phillies starting lineup cards still feature 2011 Topps.

Scoreboard Card - Michael Young

This season the Phillies also feature these Scoreboard Bios that have a Baseball Card Motif.  The design echoes 2003 Topps.

Michael Young's is off to the Los Angeles to see if he can make get involved in the Postseason with Dodgers. A decade from not it will be hard to remember Young played for the Phillies at all.

Regardless best of luck to Mr Young in LA, at least we will have one Phils player to root for in October. 

ESPN bottom line

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions